Home 5 News 5 A new Healing Fiction: ‘The Yeonnam-dong Smiley Laundromat’

A new Healing Fiction: ‘The Yeonnam-dong Smiley Laundromat’

by | Jun 20, 2024 | News

The UK’s MacleHose Press, part of Hachette-owned Quercus, has bought the latest example of what some are dubbing ‘healing fiction’.  MacLehose Press will publish Korean feel-good bestseller Yeonnam-dong’s Smiley Laundromat by first-time author Kim Jiyun in August 2024. It will be released in a translation by Shanna Tan, whose first book, Hwang Bo-reum’s Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop, appeared last October.

 

Commissioning editor Paul Engles acquired world English rights in a pre-empt from Emily Randle at Randle Editorial & Literary Consulting on behalf of Jackie Yang at the Eric Yang Agency.

 

The story revolves a communal diary that is left in a laundromat on the edge of one of Seoul’s ‘linear parks’, that is a park that is longer than it is wide.  Locals refer to the park as ‘Seontral Park’.  The notebook becomes a shared diary for the laundromat’s regulars, but before long they are teaming up to solve the mystery behind it and bring peace to its former owner.

 

Kim Jiyun trained as a scriptwriter and first published the novel on Korean e-book platform Millie’s Reads. It went straight to the top of the charts and a printed book was quickly brought to market by Sam & Parkers after a flood of readers’ requests. It has already sold in 12 translation markets including Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Spain. It will be published in the US by Pegasus Books.

 

Engles said: “Slick, pacy, surprising and cleverly plotted, Smiley Laundromat is a joy from start to finish. Held together by the noble figure of Old Jang with his white Jindo dog, it races along while touching on so many issues in Korean society. You can tell that the author majored in scriptwriting—it’s like five perfect little films that come together as one. Offering an escapism that is firmly rooted in the everyday life of a country that is at once so different and familiar, this is the perfect read to follow last year’s Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop.”

 

Jiyun added: “I’m thrilled that Yeonnam-dong’s Smiley Laundromat will be published in English. Huge thanks to my translator, Shanna Tan, who deftly brings across the emotions of the work. I hope that the readers will feel the warmth that ordinary people can bring to each other, and may that comfort extend to their daily lives.”

 

 

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